Henry Lever Action Octagonal No. H001TV 17 HMR
It has been said in the industry that "when all else fails, invent a caliber." Part and parcel of any highly new-product driven industry is the constant attempt to invent new lines of price and performance where none exist in a tangible, real-world sense. One fairly recent cartridge development that has gained traction and popularity is the Hornady 17 Magnum Rimfire introduced in 2002. It is remarkable in many respects, gaining distinction as the first successful rimfire cartridge to hit the market in over 40 years. The last rimfire considered to be a "successful" introduction was the 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire in 1959.
Most all of the 17-caliber cartridges offered today are either 17- or 20-grain. With such flyweight bullets, as a practical matter they are most suited for ground squirrels, rabbits, and similarly fragile and small-sized game or varmints. CCI reportedly manufactures most all 17 HMR ammunition, though there are slight differences between the brands themselves. As for the case itself, it is the 22 WMR necked down to accept the 17 HMRs 0.172-inch-diameter bullet.
Billed as the "worlds fastest rimfire," it appears to be just that, although there are a few caveats. The sectional density of the projectiles (about .084 for the 17 grain; .097 for the 20 grain) suggest it is not a great platform for penetration, and the ballistic coefficients of the respective bullets (about .123 for both) also promise that windage is a consideration at longer ranges. It clearly is, with just a 10-mph crosswind blowing either bullet horizontally 8 inches or so at 150 yards. Unless your shooting conditions are very calm and consistent, despite the 17 HMRs high initial velocity, it remains a 100- to 125-yard gun for most small-game applications.
What this cartridge promises and delivers on is the fun factor. With negligible recoil and a reasonable cost per shot compared to most centerfires, the Hornady 17 HMR is easy on the shoulder and not especially damaging to the wallet, either. In a quest for value, performance, and fun, Gun Tests magazine loaded up a Henry Lever Action Frontier Model No. H001TV Octagon-Barrel 17 HMR, $550. After the requisite initial scoping of the rifle, it was off to the field.
The Henry impressed the magazine with its dashing good looks right out of the box. They found the medium-stained walnut stock was far better figured than average, the bluing was dark and rich, the lever action was buttery smooth, and its trigger was a very light and crisp 3.5- pound break. The heavy octagonal barrel made it look like a real gun, not a Tinkertoy, and the gold "Henry Repeating Arms" barrel lettering set off the gun nicely. Though traditional, the buckhorn iron sights are a long ways away from the testers favorites, and they half-expected the Henry to be a bit of a pain to scope up. They admitted they were wrong, though, finding that a set of Millett 1-inch Angle-Loc Windage Adjustable 3/8-Inch Dovetail High Rings ($20) mounted the Sightron SII 2.5-10x32mm scope quickly and with no hassle. The Millett rings gave them plenty of clearance to cock and decock the hammer manually and also required no removal of the factory iron sights. Though the 11-shot Henry tubular magazine was not exactly enough to "shoot all day," it was the best magazine capacity of the tested rifles.
They reported breezy 8- to 12-mph range conditions, so they decided to do their shooting at a laser-verified 50 yards. They discovered that the Henry didnt care for the 20-grain ammunition, shot the 17-grain Hornady rounds well, but was at its best with the Winchester 17-grain ammunition, shooting several consecutive groups inside one-third of an inchgroups they easily covered with a dime. They hadnt thought that the 17 would be as ammunition-sensitive as 22 Long Rifles tend to be, but admitted to being wrong about that as well. For whatever reason, the Henry liked to be fed the Winchester ammunition the best.
They said they went over the Henry closely, trying to be as picky as possible. They really couldnt find much to carp about. They did find one section of the forearm wood, the very end pointing toward the muzzle, that was not sanded smooth. It was hard to spot, and they considered it so very hard to discern and in such an unobtrusive area they initially didnt bother to call Henry to avail ourselves of their lifetime warranty. They thought that for most consumers, it would go completely unnoticed or would not be considered worth a phone call.
Henry Repeating Arms President Anthony Imperato refers to his companys lifetime warranty policy and customer service policy as "Extreme Customer Service." Since the forearm did have a minor finish flaw, they did contact Henry, described the small cosmetic issue, and sent along a photograph to show precisely what they were referring to. Without hesitation a brand-new replacement forearm was overnighted to them that was finished perfectly. Henry made good on its warranty and customer-service pledge.
The only annoyance they could come up with in use of the Henry is what would be expected with any lever-action shot off their Caldwell Fire Control restthey had to cant the gun to cycle the action, the levers downward throw interfering with the shooting rest itself.
Gun Tests Magazine Said: They liked the octagonal barrel of the Henry, they appreciated the trigger, they enjoyed the lack of rattling present in the loaded gun (as opposed to some tube-fed attempts), and with the Henrys smooth action and more than acceptable accuracy with 17-grain ammunition, they ended up impressed. They concluded that it did everything they could ask of a lever-action 17 HMR.